Sampath Raj, who is an accused in the DJ Halli riots case, has been absconding since October 30.

Siddaramaiah addressing a presser. He is wearing a white shawl with a golden border, and gesturing with his right hand.File image
news Bengaluru riots Sunday, November 15, 2020 - 09:28

Former Karnataka Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition in Karnataka Assembly  Siddaramaiah on Saturday questioned how former Bengaluru Mayor R Sampath Raj went missing from a hospital under the policeā€™s watch. The ex-Mayor, who is an accused in the DJ Halli riots case, has been absconding since October 30. Speaking to reporters, Siddaramaiah asked why the ruling BJP is questioning the Congress about Sampath Raj going missing from the hospital.

"Ruling BJP leaders must realise that the Congress is not in power in the state. It is them, who are in power. The Home Minister of this state is from the BJP and the Chief Minister too, is from the BJP. If the BJP leaders have any questions, they must ask the CM and the Home Minister, and not us," he said.

Siddaramaiah further added that the ruling party should at least be aware that the police are under its control as is the whole state machinery. "When the BJP is in control, why should the Congress respond to such questions," he told reporters.

Since Sampath Raj absconded, the Karnataka BJP has been targeting Congress leaders on various social media platforms, asking them to clarify the whereabouts of the former Mayor, who has been named by the police in the August 11 Bengaluru riots case.

The riots were allegedly fomented after Pulikeshinagar Congress MLA Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy's nephew Naveen Kumar allegedly posted an insidious post on social media. A mob gathered at the KJ Halli and DJ Halli police to seek his arrest, and the situation soon turned out of control, with the crowd indulging in arson and looting. In this incident, Murthy's house was also damaged.

When the mob went out of control, the police opened fire, in which four people were killed. More than 300 persons have been arrested in connection with this case. Sampath Raj was named in the 400-page chargesheet submitted by the city police. He was admitted to a hospital complaining of COVID-19 like symptoms, and he absconded from there on September 7. The police have formed special temas to track him, but so far, they have remained unsuccessful.

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